Richardson: Knicks Teammates Wouldn't Go Out In Public Because Of Fan Criticism

New York can be a tough place to play, Quentin Richardson says; in fact, many players can't handle it

The DA Show
February 17, 2020 - 10:32 am

At 17-38, the New York Knicks are in jeopardy of missing the playoffs for the seventh straight season. Since reaching the NBA Finals in 2000, the Knicks have advanced past the first round of the playoffs just once.

Why has this franchise struggled to win over the last two decades?

“At the end of the day, you got to get players there,” former NBA player Quentin Richardson said on The DA Show. “The bottom line is they got to get players to come there. I firmly believe that one of these young kids will step up to the plate and say, ‘I want to be in New York. I want to play with the Knicks, I want to take on that challenge, and I’m up for it.’ But I feel like right now, it’s just been missing. This generation isn’t in that place where they want to be scrutinized or deal with everything that comes with New York. It takes a special type of person to welcome that and to lean in on that and say, ‘I know exactly what this is about, and I’m okay with it and I can deal with it.’ Until that happens, I don’t really care [who] the coach is or what moves they make. It’s going to be tough for them until they get kids that are cut from that cloth and not afraid to go there and take what New York brings on.”

Richardson, 39, played for the Knicks from 2005-09 and again in 2013. Some of his teammates couldn’t handle the criticism that comes with playing in New York, and it’s possible it’s only gotten worse.

“The new generation, they want to have their money and enjoy being in the NBA and have fun,” Richardson said. “At times, in New York, it can be the reverse of that. If you’re getting a lot of money and you’re not playing up to whatever their standards [are], they think they can boo you. They can make it tough for you. I’ve seen teammates and different people not want to go out to eat, not want to go out to enjoy the city or enjoy your down time because they worried about fans talking smack or looking at them crazy and all that. New York is a real place like that. You have to have a thick skin to be able to deal with it. Fortunately for me, I was from Chicago, so it never really mattered to me what anybody said, but I legit witnessed and seen how it goes. If you’re not built for it, you’re not built for it.”

It may seem hard to believe that professional athletes would be afraid to go out in public for fear of being criticized, but Richardson said it happened.

“Yeah, I would never say any of those guys’ names, but that legitimately happened,” Richardson said. “I had teammates that didn’t want to do certain things because they knew the criticism that was waiting for them. [Newspapers] would put people’s pay checks and what their production has been and say, ‘Hey, they made this much money for every point [they scored].’ You got to be able to deal with different things when you go to New York.”